Equine-focused veterinary clinic part of Murray Bridge Racing Club's Gifford Hill upgrade

RACING ON: Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Corey Wingard, Murray Bridge Racing Club chairman John Leahy, and Thoroughbred Racing South Australia chief executive officer Nick Redin at the opening of the Murray Bridge Racing Club's uphill sand track on October 31, 2020.

RACING ON: Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Corey Wingard, Murray Bridge Racing Club chairman John Leahy, and Thoroughbred Racing South Australia chief executive officer Nick Redin at the opening of the Murray Bridge Racing Club's uphill sand track on October 31, 2020.

Specialist veterinary help will be on-hand at a new clinic at Murray Bridge Racing Club, after the development application was approved.

The equine-focused private enterprise project at Gifford Hill will help the club become an integral part of South Australia's racing industry.

Murray Bridge Racing Club chairman John Leahy said it would build on the momentum at the club, which recently received $5 million from the state government to build 150 on-course stables and a 70-metre equine pool.

"Already a few vets are interested in it, and because it'll be very close to the race course it'll be very handy for trainers," he said.

He said having a private investor on board for the project showed the industry had faith in the facility.

"A private investor has seen that the State Government is going to back us, so they've decided to jump in with their own money," Mr Leahy said.

South Australian company Torrens Building and Civil is responsible for the build and the investment.

Company director John Thring said he was "genuinely excited" about the project.

"This is a long-term investment for our family in Murray Bridge," he said.

"We employ half a dozen people from Murray Bridge and a variety of local subcontractors are already in our work system.

"I'm 100 per cent behind the industry, because I'm a racing fan and I love the Murray Bridge area."

He said work would begin soon, and there was already "ample interest in seeking a successful vet".

Racing SA chief executive officer Nick Redin said Gifford Hill as a whole would encourage growth in investment and horse numbers in South Australia's racing industry.

"This vet clinic, together with the previously announced stables and state-of-the-art equine pool, plus the uphill sand track, helps us deliver a full on-course service at Murray Bridge and gives the facility an even better chance of attracting new trainers to our state," he said.

Murray Bridge Racing Club's foundation trainer Michael Hickmott agreed, saying it would be a "massive benefit" for the club.

"I think it's another big step forward in what is going on in South Australia, specifically Murray Bridge and what's going on at the development at Gifford Hill," he said.

"An equine-specific clinic in Murray Bridge is always going to be helpful.

"I've got no doubt it the 'build it and they will come' will work for Murray Bridge Racing Club."

He said with all the upgrades in the pipeline, the club was the talk of the country.

"I've just been to Melbourne for the yearling sale, and everyone was asking questions," he said.

"As an overall facility, the surface is world class, there will eventually be a second grass track to do training on... the whole facility will turn into a centrepiece in SA racing."

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